Kurk Kurk - The Journey of Thumbelina | Kurk Kurk

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One time I travelled to Italy to a small town surrounded by beautiful hills, located in Marche region, where Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and other famous creators strolled around. This town is called Urbino. During my stay there I was discovering the other world and tried to get to know myself better. As this was happening, I decided to draw my own version of the well known fairytale by H. C. Andersen “Thumbelina”.

Original illustrations and the first edition of “Thumbelina”. 2015 Urbino, Italy.

My Thumbelina first appeared as a part of a illustration course project (you can read more about this here). This fairytale was in my mind for a long time and I wanted to experience it trough illustration.

Sketchbook. 2015 Urbino, Italy.

I had many images of Thumbelina in my head from previously seen editions. It could be that because of this mass of images, I couldn’t see her real portrait. When I realised this, I’ve decided to put aside all of these thoughts and just draw the way it felt comfortable. in my creative process I was mostly inspired by Martynas Vilimavičius, Danielle Castelano, Chris Van Allsburg and other authors I found in Bologna book fair.

My favourite finds in Bologna book fair. 2015 Bologna, Italy.

During my stay in Bologna I was inspired to create more freely. I wanted to let go of my old believes about how children’s books should be illustrated. I was learning to be more sensitive in my drawings, to use black and white textures in order to create a wide variety of colourful moods like fear and uncertainty, but also cosiness and tenderness.

Scanned illustrations. Graphite, paper. 2015

Slowly, within 3 months I have put together a small collection of illustrations on paper which I scanned later and began to build a layout of the book.

First edition of “Thumbelina”, english version. 2015 Urbino, Italy.

The first edition of 2 copies was published in English. Later I adapted the book for Lithuanian language and published several copies trough Vilnius Academy of Arts publishing house. I wanted to improve the aesthetic form of the book so I worked more on typography and rearranged the illustrations.

Second edition of “Thumbelina”, Lithuanian version. 2016 Vilnius, Lithuania.

After 5 years, in 2020 while visiting Germany I remembered my Thumbelina. Without prior planning this memory materialized into “Däumelinchen” – German version of the book. I was excited to reconstruct the book once more. In one week with exceptional consecration I re-edited the text, changed the format of the book and the layout of illustrations. I was happy to experiment with home printer, random paper and some yarn.

Third edition of “Thumbelina”, German version. Book cover. Icon. 2020 Emstal, Germany.

My book has its’ own logic, style and overall aestethics that represents the inner world, which I understand the best, since the process of creating this book was an autoreflexion. I think nothing bad would happen if I gave a different name to “Thumbelina” and inserted additional textual deviations. Perhaps by using footnotes I could speak about my own mundane experiences. Who knows, maybe there will be a fourth edition of this book where I’ll include new paraphrases that connects the world of the book with reality. We’ll see.

Third edition of “Thumbelina”, German version. Book cover. Icon. 2020 Emstal, Germany.

If you want to know more about Viltė Žumbakytė and her artworks, visit her page vilte.art

To learn more about the activities of Kurk Kurk, read our blog articles. We also invite you to follow our page and like us on Facebook and Instagram. Until next time!

Viltė Žumbakytė

Artist Viltė Žumbakytė works with illustration, book design and visual identity. She likes to accumulate layers of coal. For the past year she always takes a piano and some yarn wherever she goes.


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